National Platform for Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals
Agenda2030.mx promotes the design of evidence-based policies in a transparent and collaborative manner. Academia, public officials and decision-makers can follow the progress of the indicators measuring the global goals with official data and user friendly visualizations.
As part of the commitment made by the President of the Mexico, Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto, regarding the 2030 Agenda, he launched the National Platform for Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals on April 26, 2017. The Platform was developed jointly in open source code by the National Digital Strategy at the Office of the President and the National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI, in Spanish) with the objective of creating an interactive tool that keeps the Government as a whole accountable regarding the progress of the agenda, whilst, making it accessible the reading and understanding of the data.
It is important to understand that this development is aimed to endure time and work across the board for researchers, government officials and even school-age children. The National Platform aims to support the measurement and compliance of the SDGs through publicizing the progress. The current version allows users to explore the data of more than 80 indicators indicators with different levels of aggregation. The data as all made available as open data, which makes Mexico a pioneer in its publication. The tool also allows recurring users to make mass downloads of data, instead of exploring the website and downloading data indicator by indicator. The data is displayed generally in maps, different graphs, tables, and it is always accompanied by the metadata and calculation method. Information is verified by INEGI and consulting groups directly with the source creators of government data, which are easily accessible, as their contact information is made available on every metadata sheet.
Given that Agenda 2030 is a 15-year long project, more indicators will be added periodically as they are generated and according to the schedule of updates and the rules established by the Specialized Technical Committee of Open Data of INEGI. This innovation in this project lies on how open resources are at the core of its development and the way data is shared, making open data a default characteristic of a government project assures its longevity and engagement with the audience.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Mexico created a website for the Millenium Development Goals, in which user-centric design and openness was not at the core of the digital development. This new website, takes into account the learnings and experience gathered by the National Digital Strategy, in charge of the digitization and openness agenda in Mexico and INEGI's experience as the official producer of geo-statistical data in Mexico. As part of the efforts to think in systems and not in projects, agenda2030.mx is connected via an API to the data produced by the government agencies in charge of reporting, validated digitally and published in open formats at the website. This streamlined process ensures the continuity of agenda2030.mx. This tool promotes efficient delivery of progress with subnational disaggregation and access to open data, metadata, graphics and maps.
What is the current status of your innovation?
agenda2030.mx is continually adding and improving the way data is visualized. As the project continues to add to data and people interact with it the team reviews and improves the way data is portrayed. We are currently working on new sections: "compara" and "¿cómo vamos?", both aimed at better understanding the progress of the agenda and allowing people to compare the advance of the measurements vis a vis the other indicators. Compara section will allow users to compare and contrast different indicators at the state disaggregation level, whilst como vamos will adjust all indicators according to the national-defined goals in a heatmap progress bar.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The main collaboration in which this innovation was build is that amongst INEGI, Mexico'a autonomous statistics institute and the National Digital Strategy (NDS) at the Office of the President. The Office of the President's role has evolved from dictating policy and recommendations, to becoming an actual operator and innovation agent. The agility and freedom in which the NDS operates has helped INEGI to explore new methodologies and models for approaching data visualization and problem-solving.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Citizens have been consulted since the first moment by hosting usability and design rounds with a design thinking approach. The help of non-organized individuals was key to create a website that feels less constricted and more fluid to natural navigation. Government officials have taken the project and communicated its benefits and impacts all over the world, making this initiative the first global official website on SDGs to become a reference in the field.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The availability and transparency of the data regarding the SDG agenda has impacted the way people consume information regarding the global goals and launched collaborations with other governments, interested in reproducing the open source code. The website is expected to change the way people navigate government data as it is usually expected that only experts request and look for this information; the new strategy is to provide for the usual suspects but create the digital opportunity for children, students and general audiences to explore and learn about the progress.
Challenges and Failures
The team behind agenda2030.mx's biggest challenge has been that of the slow moving government decision process to publish data and indicators. The development and design of this project was finished months before the actual official data was published. This created a void that risked the projects continuation, as the National Digital Strategy, had many other projects to focus on. Finally INEGI, as a result of the President's public commitment and the rapid launch of the website on April 2017, had the leverage to push agencies to publish more rapidly.
Conditions for Success
Documentation is key for projects such as this one to thrive. Creating public online repositories on github with fully documented code will allow the innovation to keep growing and improving throughout the years, with the help of the general public and civic coders.
This solution has already inspired the Human Rights Indicators working group in Mexico and the Children's Rights Indicators agency to develop similar experiences. With the code made available and the CKAN open data platform as a central node for all of government data this project will save future government platforms for progress reporting millions of pesos and time.
Good web design is still hard to sell amongst government officials. It is very important to have evidence during the whole process, user's evidence and references to new design trends. It is key for government to keep up with the way data is portrayed, as people grow use to consuming in it in a daily basis, governments need to keep it up and mimic private sector methods for telling stories with data.